A notice of strike was filed before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board in Bacolod City by members of the Bacolod Columbia Marketing Workers Association against the Bacolod Columbia Marketing Inc. for alleged unfair labor practice and union busting, union president Crusos Tanaman, said yesterday.
At a press conference at the Negros Press Club building, Tanaman said the management suspended 18 of its members and that later led to their termination after a commotion between them and the company security guards and the personal bodyguard and driver of Alfonso Chan Choa, owner, on Aug. 13 in Brgy. Villamonte, Bacolod City.
Tanaman claimed that Gabriel Hinolan, the personal bodyguard, confronted them while they were working and told them to put on their shirts as it is part of the company rules.
Tanaman said they remove their shirt because of the heat.
When they refused to get off the van, Hinolan pointed an M-16 rifle at them while two other security guards aimed their .45 caliber pistols at them, Tanaman claimed. He later reported the incident to Bacolod City Police Office Station 4.
Zoilo de la Cruz IV, national director for membership and organization of the National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines-Congress of Independent Organization-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, who was present at the press conference, said that it was because of the incident that they learned that since the establishment, of the association in 1991 union officers were all appointed by the management.
One of the terminated workers, Rolando Amante, said the union is an illegitimate group. He claimed that he was appointed by the management to the board of directors for the 2011-2016 without his knowledge.
De la Cruz said union officers must be elected by the members themselves, so CIO wrote to the management that it should hold the election within the company premises.
The election was witnessed by a representative from the Department of Labor and Employment of Negros Occidental, he said.
De la Cruz also asked the management to recognize the elected union officers and bring them back to their work places.
He said the suspension of 30 days is too much for a minimal offense, and that the management did not give the workers due process and they were not given warnings.
Tanaman said that if the management will continue to terminate its members and other regular rank and file employees, they will hold a strike at their office.
The DAILY STAR contacted the Bacolod Columbia Marketing, Inc. for comment but its officials were not available as of press time yesterday.
Its operations manager, Emil Monfort was in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental while its sales manager Nilo Tan was also not available, office personnel told the DAILY STAR over the phone yesterday.*